Canadian lawmakers express concern over human rights violations in Pakistan


In a significant development, Canadian lawmakers have expressed “grave concern over the situation unfolding in Pakistan” in a letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.


The letter comes as the Pakistan government’s crackdown continues against the PTI leaders and workers. Talking to the media outside his residence, Imran Khan said over 7,500 workers, including women, of his party have been arrested by police.


The 16 signatories of the letter are lawmakers who are members of the Canada-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group. In their letter, they highlighted the importance of the right to peaceful protest and condemned all incidents of violence, arbitrary arrests, and the need for fair trials in civilian courts in Pakistan.


The lawmakers have urged Prime Minister Trudeau to address the grave issues of violence, arbitrary arrests, and the need for fair trials in civilian courts.


Voicing concern for democratic principles

The letter emphasised the lawmakers’ responsibility to act as the voice of their constituents, representing the concerns of thousands of Canadians of Pakistani heritage. It underscores the essential nature of democracy, the rule of law, and freedom of expression in any society, calling for these principles to be upheld without compromise in Pakistan.


Concerns against arbitrary arrests

In their letter, the Canadian lawmakers condemned all acts of violence in Pakistan and expressed their distress over the illegal arrests of innocent civilians, journalists, activists, and political leaders. They specifically highlight the targeting of women and children, urging that their rights be protected. The lawmakers assert that those charged with crimes should be given a fair and transparent trial in civilian courts, respecting due process and the independence of the legal system.


Concerns surrounding Imran Khan’s arrest

The letter also draws attention to the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which declared the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan illegal and unjust. While the lawmakers do not comment on the veracity of the charges against Khan, they emphasised the importance of prompt and open court proceedings, allowing the independent legal system to fulfill its responsibilities.


Canada’s commitment to justice, democracy, and human rights

Recognising the long-standing friendship between Canada and Pakistan, the lawmakers urged Prime Minister Trudeau to reaffirm Ottawa’s commitment to justice, democracy, and human rights, not only within Pakistan but also globally. They stressed the significance of Pakistanis having the autonomy to shape their own destiny through free and fair elections, guided by the principles of the rule of law and respect for human rights.


Monitoring situation and advocating for democracy

The Canadian lawmakers assured that they will closely monitor the situation in Pakistan and remain unwavering in their advocacy for democracy. They expect a timely and substantive response from Prime Minister Trudeau, acknowledging that democracy and justice will ultimately prevail.


The letter from Canadian lawmakers reflects the growing international concern over the human rights situation in Pakistan. The Canadian lawmakers’ call for action aims to support the people of Pakistan in their pursuit of democracy and justice.


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